Heathen Patriot: Thoughts from a Heathen Republican
Exploring pre-Christian Germanic and contemporary Neopagan beliefs and practices, politics, culture, and from a different point of view. Welcome to the conservative/libertarian end of the Pagan / Heathen pool.
H.R. 592: Is It Really "Fair"?
There’s a bill currently wending its way through the House of Representatives; H.R. 592, the “Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013”. (Hey, everyone likes "fairness", right?)
In fact, it’s set to be voted on tomorrow (Wednesday, February 13).
The gist of the bill is that churches and other religious organizations, which are currently not eligible to receive Federal disaster relief due to superstorm Sandy, would become eligible to receive it.
While on the face of it, this may seem like a pretty good idea, it is not for two very specific reasons.
First, those churches do not pay taxes, and yet are attempting to get Federal funds paid for by taxpayers. Considering that churches, as a group, continually lobby Washington to maintain themselves as exempt from a broad swath of legislation that applies to everyone else (for instance, the laws surrounding the implementation of Obamacare), it seems intensely unfair that they should then seek out Federal taxpayer money. You’re either in or your out; pick one.
Second, it is patently obvious that only large, established religious groups are going to be receiving that money. Take, for example, my own situation. We hold religious services in our home on a regular basis, and my roof was pretty much destroyed by Sandy. Do you think the government is going to accept an application for a Heathen religious organization (dutifully approved by the IRS) for disaster relief? Or is that money going to go to the already well-heeled Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups out there. It hardly seems fair to dole out money to some religious groups to repair their facilities, and not do so for others. Indeed, the ones that have permanent buildings and property would seem to have already demonstrate their ability to raise funds, and they should already have insurance to boot.
Personally, I don’t see the rationale for taking money from taxpayers in Minnesota and California to pay for storm damage in New York and New Jersey, when six months later the government is just going to be taking my tax money to pay for some disaster relief effort in some other state. But as long as we’re going to play this shell-game, the money should at least be allocated fairly, and not to religious groups that otherwise eschew government “intrusion”, don’t pay into the system in the first place, and which aren't representative of the whole religious makeup of the affected area.
Do consider contacting your Representative tonight or tomorrow and remind them of some of the implications of this bill they may not have thought through.
UPDATE (2/14/2013): The House unfortunately passed the bill 354-72. See how your Representative voted here.
(Originally posted at www.GOPagan.com)
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